• U.S.

Education: Beatty to Indians

2 minute read

The titular leader of U. S. Progressive Education settled himself in the Bureau of Indian Affairs at Washington last week and prepared to dispense the blessings of his faith to 81,000 young Amerindians. President Willard Walcott Beatty of the Progressive Education Association was fresh from the rich New York City suburb of Bronxville, where he superintended a model school system operating at an annual cost of $233 per student. His appointment as Director of Indian Education indicated a new attempt to develop some sort of education to which Indians will respond. When the U. S. Government first turned from shooting Indians to educating them, it hoped to accomplish their gradual assimilation in white communities. In 1879 General Richard Henry Pratt (who once proposed apportioning the Indians, like so many marbles, nine to each county in the U. S.) founded Carlisle School in Pennsylvania. Carlisle, bolstered by a Federal subsidy and the prestige of its football teams, flourished until 1918, in spired the founding of Haskell (Lawrence, Kans.), Albuquerque (N. Mex.), many another boarding school far from the Indian Reservations. But the Indian did not take to the white man’s ways. The graduates of the boarding schools generally returned to their reservations and their blankets. Since the prime tenet of Progressive Education is to let pupils study what they want to study, Willard Beatty seemed well fitted for his job. In reservation schools Director Beatty will encourage the study of Indian arts, customs and languages, in addition to “pale face learning.” The typically Progressive “project system” of education will be applied chiefly to the molding of pottery and weaving of blankets, tourist trades in which Indians are protected by a Federal law that only goods actually manufactured by Indians can be labeled ‘Indian.”

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